At the Winter NAMM conference, SPL of Germany announced they are expanding their Mastering Series hardware line with three new devices, all to be demonstrated for the first time in their US distributor’s booth, Audio Plus Services. The three new units are the updated PASSEQ, passive mastering equalizer, the DMC, stereo mastering console, and the 16-channel analog mastering monitor controller, MC16 – a first of its kind. Spring 2018 is the target release date for all three products.
Mastering engineer Michael Romanowski is using one of the first prototypes of the DMC console at his Coast Mastering studio with great results. “The new DMC is the heart of my mastering system, with all my analog processing gear connected to it,” he says. “The most important things for me about the DMC are its transparency, its flexibility in gain structure, and its monitoring capabilities. And with emerging markets for immersive audio, its ability to expand the channel count is a necessity. Those are the biggest reasons that I choose to use the DMC.”
The new DMC stereo mastering console is engineered from the ground-up making it not only more flexible with better specs than SPL’s previous console, but also more ergonomic and sized to fit in all types of studio furniture. The 3RU console has 4 stereo inputs and 4 stereo sources, with 2 stereo recording outputs, as well as 3 stereo and 2 mono speaker outputs that can be expanded with the new MC16 controller (see below). The new DMC console operates on the same unequaled 120V DC audio rail like each of the other SPL Mastering Series processors. The new DMC console is priced at half of its predecessor, and yet offers more features and improved audio performance.
“The DMC is so clean sounding and open, the transparency of the sound is fantastic,” continues Romanowski. “I like how much headroom the audio has, that I can push it, let it breathe, or anywhere in-between — I can count on what I’m hearing to be accurate. I am not hearing anything holding it back in any way. Because I use analog outboard gear for all of my mastering work, the DMC allows me to set my gain structure correctly with the input and output trims. I can get my analog chain to behave with exactly the right signal to noise ratio that works for my system.”
“I also like the feel of using it,” he adds. “The new DMC has all the functions I need as a console. I like the feel of the knobs, and the clean and intuitive layout is perfect to stay focused in my work. I can’t say enough about how good this new DMC console is for me.”
Today’s mastering studio must be prepared for Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D projects. Monitoring up to 16 channels in a quality that is on par with state-of-the-art stereo was hard to achieve – until now. The new MC16 monitoring controller operates on SPL’s 120V DC audio rail and sports the world’s first 16-gang custom-designed precision potentiometer from SPL. Most mastering studios use their L/R speakers (and subwoofer) for both stereo and multi-channel monitoring; to expand on that standard setup, SPL has developed a way of pairing the MC16 with their new DMC stereo mastering console for seamless integration of multi-channel monitoring with a stereo mastering environment. The combination of DMC and MC16 allows mastering studios to work in all current audio playback formats at the same quality level, all without reconnecting any speakers.
The newly updated PASSEQ passive mastering equalizer complements their highly acclaimed range of 120V audio rail Mastering Series processors. The new PASSEQ offers the flavor and genuine sound of passive inductive coil filter equalization. As the most versatile passive equalizer ever built, each channel of the new PASSEQ offers 72 passive filters – all built with high-grade single core coils. Compared to its predecessor, the new PASSEQ sports an extended high frequency EQ range to 35kHz making it ideally suited for ‘ultra high frequency’ processing, and the Mid Frequency Cut now starts much lower at 200Hz compared to its predecessor at 1kHz. Other new features include a +/- 10dB output gain control for precise calibration and the Auto Bypass function with interval control that is also featured on SPL’s IRON mastering compressor and the PQ mastering equalizer.
SPL has a long tradition in designing and manufacturing exceptional mastering equipment. Their flagship 8-channel mastering console, the “MMC1” used by mastering gurus such as Bob Ludwig, Simon Heyworth, and Darcy Proper along with the ‘King of Parametric Equalizers’ the iconic “PQ”, have proven SPL’s leadership in designing the highest quality and sought-after mastering equipment. Beyond the three new products demonstrated at NAMM, their current mastering series also comprises the highly acclaimed IRON mastering compressor and the latest incarnation of the PQ mastering equalizer. All of SPL’s Mastering Series is exclusively powered by their proprietary 120V DC audio rail technology.
- SPL DMC stereo mastering console: street price $6,499.00 USD
- SPL MC16 16-channel analog monitoring controller: street price $5,999.00 USD
- SPL PASSEQ passive mastering equalizer: street price $5,999.00 USD
- All three products will be available in Black or Red models, and are expected to be ship in Spring 2018.